WHO WE ARE
This is our family. Come hunker down and go far. Nest within the support of community. Fly with independence towards your dreams.
We are a family or four: Allison, Adam, a 6 year old girl, and a 3 year old boy. Our kids love to play outside and make new friends. They will also be a part of the group experience during evenings and weekends, and will occupy a room in the farm house with everyone.
Director, Lead Educator & Mentor
B.A. Cultural Studies; B.S. Ecology, Evergreen State College
Diploma Environmental Protection Technology, Kwantlen Polytechnic College
Registered Yoga Teacher 300RYT, Asheville Yoga Center
Allison brings with her over a decade of experience teaching in a diverse array of settings to people of all ages. She initially followed the traditional path of going to college right out of high school where she grew up in Canada. Though she graduated from an Environmental Technology Program that prepared her to be an environmental consultant, she opted for working in the field of education. Working at a recycling center in British Columbia, Allison came to believe that teaching people positive behavior was more effective than correcting environmental problems later with technology. She later served as an educator with many interesting organizations in the regional parks, non-profits, and outdoor schools.
Wanting to continue studying, Evergreen State College offered an interdisciplinary path where she was able to explore many interests and travel often, in a non-competitive and supportive learning community. While at Evergreen, Allison became interested in how people use things from their environment to create functional and beautiful crafts, so she set off to study the relationship between craft, environment, and culture. This interest led her to the Appalachian Mountains as well as the highlands of Peru, where she immersed herself in the crafting cultures of the region.
Allison’s curiosity about craft stemmed from a desire to know how to make everything in order to be self-reliant. This desire shifted from wanting to check newly learned skills off a list, towards living them, thereby preserving and promoting cultural wisdom. She discovered that homesteading was a lifestyle that would enable her to apply her craftiness en route to self-reliance. This realization led Allison to volunteer, intern, and work on homesteads and farms in France, New Zealand, Oregon, and North Carolina with animals, food, and herb gardens.
Allison entered the Gap Year world leading four semester-long international trips with Carpe Diem Education and became very excited about working with Gap Year students who were at the all-important transition to adulthood. These trips solidified her desire to work with this age group at The Pioneer Project. Now, back in her beloved Appalachian Mountains, Allison has seen many models of education, craft, and homesteading and enjoys weaving her experience into the fabric of The Pioneer Project. She is excited to enable others to learn by seeing, doing, and living.
Educator & Mentor
B.A. Education; B.S. Evolutionary Biology, Evergreen State College
Master’s in School Administration, Western Carolina University (May 2021)
Adam and Allison co-founded the Pioneer Project in 2012, during which time he was Executive Director and Director of Outdoor Leadership until 2015. Though his role will be more limited in 2020, he will still be highly involved on a daily basis by sharing meals, adventures, stories, music, and lighthearted goofiness with the students.
Adam comes to the project with a wealth of experience in the Gap Year field and as an educator of diverse people for more than 14 years. Adam started his journey in North Carolina’s Piedmont, where he led a fairly typical life until high school graduation. During his fateful senior year, an older friend of his inspired him to embark on a year of service in lieu of college. Adam’s Gap Year odyssey commenced as he spent the next two years volunteering and working in education and conservation in several international and stateside locales. During this journey, Adam found immense clarity and inspiration for his path that have guided his actions ever since. His parents noted this change in him and were compelled to empower other students to take the “road less traveled” by writing The Gap Year Advantage, for which Adam was a contributing author. His discovery of a nascent enthusiasm for the outdoors and experiential learning led him to one of the country’s most progressive and alternative colleges, Evergreen, in Olympia, WA. There, he was exposed to an entirely new project-based, non-competitive form of education while he focused on evolutionary biology, animal behavior, and progressive education theory.
Adam has taught and guided in many different roles including as an Overseas Educator and administrator for Carpe Diem Education, a Community Educator for Community Energy Project in Portland, OR, and a Lead Instructor at North Carolina Outward Bound School. Adam has spent the last 6 years in the public school system as a middle school science teacher, as well as a high school biology and earth and environmental science teacher. Most recently, he has been working towards his Master’s in School Administration. In his role at the school where he has taught for the last 5 years, Adam has started and taken the Adventure Club on over 20 outings, co-authored Open Up Education, a bestselling book about a revolutionary way of learning, won an Outstanding Educator award from the NC Science Teacher’s Association, and helped create a Project-Based Learning model that has earned his school international recognition. He is excited to bring his educational insight to the project to help create unforgettable and transformative experiences for students.